Amazing Cologne Cathedral in Germany
The Cologne Cathedral is one of the most historically significant and most visited landmarks in Germany, mainly due to its old age and rich historical significance but also because of its unique architecture and importance towards Roman Catholicism. The cathedral can be found in the city of Cologne, and its viewing platform offers exquisite panoramic views over the Rhine. The building is 515 feet tall, 284 feet wide and 474 feet long.
The construction of this amazing landmark spanned across the centuries, as its first building blocks were set in 1248. Unfortunately, the construction process was halted in 1473 due to insufficient funds and the cathedral remained unfinished all the way until the 19th century when it was finally completed following its original layout.
But first, we’re going to tell you exactly why this incredible cathedral was built in the first place. You see the Archbishop of Cologne, Rainald of Dassel, managed to get his hands on the relics of the Three Kings in the year 1164. Consequently, the leaders of the church felt that these highly important relics should find a proper home, and so the building program for the Cologne Cathedral started. The church was to be built following the principles of Gothic architecture, and its foundation stone was placed on August 15, 1248 by Archbishop Konrad von Hochstaden.
Its completion in the 19th century also had a very good reason behind it, and we can be sure of this because this process required vast sums of money that would surpass US $1 billion today. After the discovery of the original plans for the building’s facade, the Protestant Prussian Court decided to finish the cathedral, even though a big part of the money required for this was achieved through civic effort. The Central-Dombauverein, founded in 1842, managed to gather two-thirds of the total costs, while the rest was covered by the Prussian state. If you’re wondering why the state would do this, well it was mainly so that it would better its relationship with the vast number of Catholic citizens that flocked to the state in 1815.
During World War II, the Cologne Cathedral was hit 14 times by aerial bombs but it was never brought down. Some say that it was actually used as a navigational landmark by Allied pilots as they made their way into Germany in the final years of the conflict.
The cathedral became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996, and it currently attracts about 20,000 visitors each day, most of them pilgrims. Its popularity pinnacle was reached on August 18, 2005 when Pope Benedict XVI visited the cathedral. About one million pilgrims were present at the site during the time, which is an incredible accomplishment. The treasures housed within the building include the Shrine of the Three Kings as well as the High Altar that was installed in 1322.